The (Interesting) Cars Of Targa Tasmania 2015

Targa Tasmania has been on this week. As usual, Targa had it’s share of bumps and bruises. Four cars left the road on the same corner on Friday and organisers had to deal with a deliberate oil spill on the first full day of the event. There were no medical casualties, thankfully, but a stage of the event had to be cancelled.

Targa drivers covered 2000kms over the last week, with more than 500 of those kilometres at full tilt in timed stages. It’s the ultimate tarmac rally.

The major category winners:

Jason White won the Modern class in his Lamborghini Gallardo. It was White’s 5th Targa win.

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Craig Haysman won the Classic class in his Triumph TR7 V8.

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Tony Quinn won the Showroom class in his McLaren 650S

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The Targa fleet was on display in Hobart on Friday night so I popped down to Princes Wharf Shed #2 for a bit of a look-see. The conditions weren’t great for photos, but it was fun. I had a chance to catch up with one of my mates, Phil Blake, who was running his yellow Fiat Abarth in his umpteenth Targa. I’ll have to photograph all the Targa plates at his house one day.

Here are a few of my favourite pictures from the fleet….

Donald Duck adorning a stepnose Alfa Guilia.

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It’s always fun to drive a slow-car-fast.

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Another Alfa GTV.

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Passengers aside from the navigator aren’t usually allowed…..

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This Ford Escort Mexico was just beautiful.

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There were plenty of 911’s in this year’s race. This was my favourite pic, though not my favourite 911.

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An early Alfetta, minus its bumpers. Lovely.

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Phil showing me the rally computer in his Abarth. Compulsory equipment for every car.

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Ready to go…..

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Headlights on the Jensen CV8. This car has been in every Targa I’ve seen.

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Porsche 914-6. If it’s genuine, it’s a very rare car.

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Needs no description…..

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The winning Lamborghini was being held together by duct tape and cable ties by the end of the race.

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Apologies for getting a little bit artsy with this gallery, but I had a new lens on my camera and I thought I’d try out the filters on Apple’s new Photos app. The app runs like crap, but the filters turned out OK.

Click to enlarge.

Fantasy Friday: Opel GT

For a long time now, I have had a self-imposed commitment to never buy a car from the pus-infected abscess that is General Motors – except for a Saab. I can think of very few cars for which I might make an exception.

The Chevrolet Corvette might be one, in the right spec. Call me superficial, but I’m a C3 fan. The fact that they’re generally all power and very little handling doesn’t seem to matter. That big, curvy and purposeful front end gets me every time.

I must be going a bit soft in my old age because the Opel GT has become another GM-related product that I wouldn’t mind spending time with.

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The little Opel’s styling has often seen it described as a junior C3 Corvette. It’s a visually relevant comparison and they were designed in the same era. Sources I could find credit different designers in very different places, however, and the Opel fans like to contend that the little GT’s origins go back as far as 1962.

The Opel GT first showed as a concept in 1965 and then went on sale in MY1968. And yes, there are plenty of C3 comparisons with those dates because the car upon which the C3 was based, the Mako Shark II concept, was first shown in 1965 and the C3 went on sale – you guessed it – as a 1968 model year car.

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Whether planned or accidental, the look is undeniably familiar. From the high-riding curvy wheel arches at the front to the absence of external access to the limited trunk space. The Opel GT is a curvaceous little two-seater and time has treated it well.

Unlike its American cousin, the Opel GT wasn’t a powerhouse in the engine department. The GT followed the European tradition, employing a more lightweight construction in combination with a 4-cylinder engine. The base engine was a tiny 1.1 litres and made just 67hp. Most buyers opted for the more potent 1.9 litre engine, with its 102hp. US buyers of later model GT’s got a detuned version somewhere around 90hp thanks to emissions regulations in effect at the time.

102hp isn’t a lot, but thankfully the little GT weighed in at just 940kg in top spec. Sprinting wasn’t its forte – it rarely is with this type of car – but the GT 1.9 should have enough poke and a light enough body to have some fun in the twisties.

Opel made just over 103,400 GT’s. Surprisingly, around 70,000 of them were sold in the United States through the country’s Buick dealers.

It’s hard to get super-excited about the Opel GT given that I’ve never actually seen one or driven one myself, but here are a few things I like about the Opel GT from afar:

  • The styling. I’ve written enough about this already.
  • The sound from the twin pipes that people put on them. You can get a rorty note from the Opel 4-cylinder, which is essential for the right driving experience.
  • The dashboard – just the right amount of 60’s/70’s black and sporty styling.
  • The headlamps. Watch the video below. They look like they’re flipping pancakes!

The video is in German, but it has some good driving footage of a tuned 1.9 GT. Skip to 4:15 if you just want to see the headlamps :-)

Some useful Opel GT resources…..

A great article at Hemmings magazine that gives a good overview and all the tech specs.

The Opel Motorsport Club is a US-based operation that heaps of info about the car, including buyer guides, maintenance and tuning.

Winds of Change.

I had a small reminder today. A reminder that things are changing, moving on. I’m only 45 years old but the signs seem to come with increasing frequency now.

The first time I ever felt slightly ‘aged’ was near the end of 2007.

The one constant through my conscious lifetime has been Australian Rules Football. The end of 2007 saw the retirement of James Hird, Nathan Buckley and Kevin Sheedy from their respective roles in Australian football.

Sheedy had been the coach of one of Melbourne’s powerhouse teams for 27 years – since I was 10 years old. He was an elder statesman of the game and loomed large over the entire football landscape. Even if you hated his team, it was hard to think of Sheedy as anything other than a football father figure.

More pointed, however, were the retirements of Hird and Buckley. Their retirement as players stung because they were the last men close to my generation who played the game. The game I’d grown up with – the game I’d always felt young enough to play with my mates – was now being played wholly by young men a generation removed from my own.

That made me feel old.

I’m sure you’ve all seen this image somewhere on the web before:

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On a related subject…..

About 10 years ago I spent hours and hours building a wonderful cabinet for all my CD’s. It turned out really well, too.

Today, I think it’s been at least 4 years since I actually played a CD in a CD player. In fact, the only CD players we own now are a Playstation 4 inside the house (I assume it’d play a CD if I asked it) and a CD player in my Subaru Brumby. The last car stereo I bought didn’t even include a CD player. It’s purely a media player, finding its songs either from a USB drive or via Bluetooth.

I think the compact disc might just be the first significant technology to both emerge and become (almost completely) redundant within in my lifetime. Maybe the video cassette recorder took that honour first. It probably did.

So today…..

It was just a little thing, but it was just another sign that things have changed.

Today I had to write some notes as part of an audit I’m doing. Most of my audit notes are done directly into my workpapers, which are on my computer. Today I decided to draft some preliminary notes on paper. It’s not unusual to sketch things out on paper, but that’s usually just a few words with a lot of underlining/arrows and a bunch of doodles.

Today’s notes took a whole page.

What I learned at the end of that page was that 10+ years of writing on computers has completely ruined my ability to write in cursive script. The paper looked like a long prescription written by a 95 year old doctor. My ability to write with my own hand has been severely depleted and it’s largely down to the march of progress.

I can now type a lot quicker, with greater accuracy and much greater legibility than what I can write.

Football has moved on but I still enjoy the game immensely.

I find myself completely accustomed to digital music and I’ve even considered taking my CD’s to Cash Converters and breaking up the cabinet I built. It’s not much use for anything else.

But losing the ability to write in a presentable manner with my own hand feels like a genuine point of concern. I’ve never been a great practitioner of penmanship, but it feels like a basic skill that all people should try to hold on to.

If you’ve got any notable stories of time changing while you weren’t looking, feel free to share them in comments.

Let’s age (dis)gracefully together :-)

The Saab Car Museum Support Organisation

I’m grateful to Alex at Saabtala for posting about the Saab Car Museum Support Organisation last week. I didn’t even know this group existed prior to that post and for those of you who missed it, I figured it might be worth writing about it here. I’ve just sent through my support donation and I think it’d be worthwhile if you consider doing the same.

Ursaab-getting-som-airThe Saab Museum is the spiritual home of Saab Automobile. Peter Backstrom, Ola and their crew of contributors and volunteers do a sensational job of keeping Saab’s legacy alive. The Museum is visited by thousands of people every year and this year, once again, it’ll be the central hub for activities linked to the Saab Festival.

Picture: Saabs United.

The Saab Museum nearly went under a few years ago when the Swedish debt agency went and put stickers all over the cars, marking them as items to be secured for sale. Thankfully, the city of Trollhattan stepped in along with Saab AB and the Wallenburg family to secure the immediate future of the Museum.

That doesn’t mean the Museum is flush with funds, however. It cost money to save the Museum but it costs more to run it on an ongoing basis, too.

That’s where you come in.

The Saab Car Museum Support Organisation is a non-profit organisation, set up to allow supporters of the Museum to ‘join’ and provide a small amount each year in support of the Museum’s activities. The fee is 200SEK per year, which is around A$30 in my money, or $22 American dahllahs. Payment can be made by PayPal or a number of other means.

Click here to go to the membership page.

Thanks in advance for your support. And please make plans to visit the Saab Museum some day. June 5-7 would be perfect, as that’s when the 2015 Saab Festival will be on.

Whether it’s this year or another year, though, make sure you get there. It’s a truly magical place.

Why Cars?

A little bit of personal philosophy to start the week…..

I’ve been in a position recently to think about why some of us obsess about cars so much. I remember a time back in 2011, a year or so after the sale of Saab to Spyker was completed, but when Saab were beginning to show the first signs of trouble. I was still writing Saabs United at the time and there was much debate going on about how things were going under Victor Muller’s leadership. I was a stout defender of Victor but there were a number of people who were critical. Some of them were extremely strong in their opinions.

There was one guy in particular, a guy so vehement in his criticism that he became one of the half-dozen or so people that I banned during my 7 years as a website administrator, after which he continued the tirade via email.

Most of the bullets he fired were a complete waste of time but one theme rang true – why are you doing this? Why do you spend so much time writing about this situation at Saab? Why do you write about cars so much? Is it really a productive use of your time? Does it benefit the world at all? Are you making the world a better place when there are people dying of preventable causes in various parts of the world and you’re sitting there writing obsessively about Saab cars?

It was a fair question then, and it remains so today.

Why cars? Why so much time spent on learning about them? Discussing them?

Are cars worthy?

Yes. I think they are.

The liberation of mass transport

From Karl Benz through to Armand Peugeot, Giovanni Agnelli, Henry Ford and Ferdinand Porsche, cars progressed from being indulgences for the elite to true instruments of mass liberation, bringing a modern world to a society hungry for progress.

Cars expand our collective horizon. They take us to meet new people and experience new places with greater efficiency than we ever had before.

Cars mean that we’re no longer bound to villages or even regions like our ancestors. Trips that took days just a century ago are now completed in hours, in air-conditioned comfort with Bluetooth audio and satellite navigation.

They say travel broadens the mind. It used to refer to inter-territorial travel but the car has made that accessible to nearly everyone. Today such a saying refers to international travel only. Anyone can explore the land they’re connected to, primarily because of the car.

Social mobility

That old village mentality is a thing of the past. Distance is not the barrier it used to be. Cars now carry families and friends to meet together every day. They carry them across town, or across the country.

Cars carry boyfriends and girlfriends to their first dates and a few years later they might just carry the same kids to their wedding.

Cars bring babies home from hospital for their first night under the family roof, just as they also carry the departed to their final resting place.

Economic Mobility

Cars carry pimply 15-year-olds to their first jobs. A few years later they carry them to university.

They carry mobile locksmiths, gardeners, plumbers, pet groomers, bankers, builders and baristas. A vehicle can be a workhorse, a mobile office or even a mobile showroom.

And then there’s the car industry itself, which employs millions around the world. These people work with cars their whole lives – driving them, designing them, building them, fixing them, financing and selling them. Cars have driven advancements in technology, whether it be in safety systems, cutting edge materials, engine efficiency or manufacturing processes – the automotive sector is a hub for innovation in all sorts of fields.

Cars are also the lifeblood of a number of critical industries. They generate huge dollars in manufacturing and in all forms of advertising. There’s a dedicated aftermarket industry serving a vast number of custom vehicle tastes. If you can dream it, someone out there can take your money and build it.

I don’t think we’ll see another too-big-to-fail decision like we saw with GM at the beginning of the global financial crisis. But don’t let that lull you into thinking that the automotive industry has become a lesser player in terms of driving research and development. Car companies remain at the cutting edge of consumer-oriented industry and the dollars they spend on contractors and suppliers generate dollars elsewhere in the economy.

Cars Bring Joy

There’s the joy of the first date, the first baby’s homecoming, and the joy of occasions with family and friends. But there are other times when the car is an intrinsic part of the joyful experience.

The thrill of your first drive.

The joy you have on the right road trip in the right car with the right song on the stereo and the right people in the car with you.

The joy of a winding road shared with you friends in their cars, travelling together for a lunch somewhere. Or just travelling.

The joy people get from artistic automotive design. Yes, cars can be art, just like your favourite chair, desk lamp or wrist watch. Good industrial design is an art form all of its own.

There’s joy in preserving an old car and joy in driving it. The joy of gathering around an old car with friends and fixing it together. Eric Bana said in his film “Love The Beast” that his Ford Falcon coupe was like a campfire that he and his mates would gather around, telling stories while they worked on the car together.

For some people, these moments lose their lustre fairly quickly but for many, they endure for a lifetime.

Social Good

Those of us who spend a lot of time in the automotive sphere aren’t curing cancer. We’re not running a food bank or getting people off drugs. But don’t discount the enormous social good provided by the automobile over the last century or so.

Cars carry medicines to people in need. Their derivatives carry sick people to hospitals. They carry police and even soldiers to defend the places we live. Cars carry food to the hungry.

Cars changed the world. And while they’re not always used for good, the net effect of their invention has been overwhelmingly positive.

So are cars worthy?

I like to think they are. Cars are often the second most expensive investment that people make in their lifetime. We design cities around the need to move from place to place. Our world has become dependent on mobility.

But more than that, cars are intrinsically interesting. The engineering. The potential for man and machine to form an experience.

Put simply, cars bring happiness to a lot of people. It’s not curing cancer – I’ll leave that to the doctors – but sharing some of that happiness and trying to inspire it in other isn’t a bad thing, is it?

Press: NEVS Has Exited Reorganisation

The press release……

Nevs has exited the reorganization

The District Court of Vänersborg has today, April 15, 2015 decided that the reorganization of Nevs shall cease as the purpose of the reorganization is fulfilled.

The reorganization of Nevs was initiated August 29, 2014 for a period of three months. The reorganization was prolonged for a period of three months at two occasions, December 11, 2014 and March 11, 2015.

On March 23, 2015 the District Court of Vänersborg approved the composition proposal by Nevs after a vote where 98,2 percent of the creditors representing 98,6 percent of the amount of the debt was in favor for the composition. On April 14 The District Court’s approval of the composition became legally valid.

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Yep. That’s the whole thing.

For those of you who nodded off during this whole episode (don’t feel ashamed, it was an easy thing to do), here’s a quick primer……

How did we get here?

Well, in short and in general…..

NEVS started life with a somewhat suspect business plan. Then they took on a Chinese partner that:

  1. insisted they depart from their electric-only business plan and build petrol driven cars, and
  2. failed to come up with the money they promised.

Without that cash injection and with money tied up in the development of cars they never really intended to make, NEVS were severely short of cash. They couldn’t pay their suppliers and went into ‘Reorganisation’ in August 2014.

There were a lot of hairy moments along the way and Kai Johan Jiang quite likely no longer has a pot to pee in nor a window to throw it out of, but they survived.

NEVS had promised all along that suppliers would receive payment in full but they had to renege on this promise and do a deal with a number of suppliers. According to TTELA, 469 out of 573 suppliers that are owed money will get paid in full. A good effort, really.

The supplier deal was the final hurdle to exiting reorganisation and with yesterday being the final day for protests to be lodged (and with none being lodged), NEVS were clear to petition the court to allow them to exit from Reorg.

And what does it all mean for the future?

NEVS have consistently stated that they’re in negotiations with a couple of potential partners who want to buy in to the business. The exit from Reorg clears the way for this to finally happen.

The persistent rumour is that it’s Mahindra who will buy a controlling stake in the company, with another development partnership with Dong Feng. Recent mumblings have also spoken of other companies wanting to use the production facilities at Trollhattan to provide some extra capacity for their own needs.

The identity of the potential partners has not been revealed officially, so we’ll have to wait and see if those rumours are correct.

Either way, it shouldn’t be long now until the future path for NEVS is made more clear.

I’ve never been a huge fan of NEVS’s strategy or communication methods but I’ve always been a fan of the Saab badge and the city of Trollhattan. Kudos to NEVS for actually navigating their way through the storm, but here’s to someone else coming in and providing funds and a business plan that’s realistic, understandable and achievable.

Griffin Up!

Apr 14 – NEVS Should Exit Reorg Today

UPDATE: According to Tom at Saabtala, the exit from reorganisation is likely to be tomorrow. That’s contrary to the story at TTELA but Tom’s been on the phone to the court so the information should be reliable. Whether it’s today or tomorrow is neither here nor there, by dinner time on the 15th NEVS should be free to make a deal.

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Just a reminder…..

Today should be a significant day for NEVS and the potential for any future cars with a Saab name attached to them.

According to their own press materials late last month, and a story on SU last week, NEVS have applied to exit their court-protected reorganisation and come out into the real world.

From their March 23 press release:

Nevs intends to apply for exiting the reorganization as soon as the composition is legally valid in mid-April.

“A composition was needed for Nevs to exit the reorganization in order to be able to sign commercially viable agreements with our OEM and financial partners we have been in dialogue with for a long time.

And from the SU story….

According to the local newspaper ttela.se and to SwerigeradioP4 NEVS has applied to the court to terminate the reorganization period on the 14th of April.

Assuming all goes well, it shouldn’t long until we see a new majority stakeholder in the company and hopefully, some clearer direction as to where they’re going to go.

Is it Mahindra?

Are they able to use the Saab name?

Will they maintain their Swedish roots, including some manufacturing?

Will the proposed model mix remain as NEVS had planned?

We won’t be able to answer those questions today, but hopefully today will see the first step taken in a successful Saab journey. I think we could all do with some good news from Trollhattan.

The exit will likely happen while I’m asleep (these things always do) so feel free to keep one another informed in comments.

Interesting times, folks. Interesting times.

Classics By The Beach – April 2015

Rain was the forecast but this morning saw beautiful conditions at Sandy Bay and the cars were shining at Classics By The Beach for April 2015.

Today was also Easter Sunday, so this ornament on an Alvis seemed quite appropriate.

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We have a couple of ‘new’ cars this month and plenty of favourites that we’ve seen before.

Let’s take a look…..

Mini 2+2, engineered by Broadspeed

This was the car of the day, for me. I’d never even heard of a Broadspeed Mini before, let alone seen one. I’m glad I’ve seen one now. Magnificent!

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The Broadspeed 2+2 was a Mini modified in the mid 1960’s by Broadspeed Engineering, a company started by a guy named Ralph Broad, in Birmingham. The body was modified using fibreglass panels in place of the original steel. The engine was also modified with Broadspeed’s own parts and 4 different levels of specification were offered. Only 28 original Broadspeeds were made. Another 4 were made in Australia using Australian-made Minis as a base. Two are believed to survive.

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This example is a steel-bodied replica that the current owner has had for around 5 years. It has a 1300cc engine and it looked and sounded absolutely superb.

Click here for more Broadspeed 2+2 stories and information.

As always, click on any of the photos to enlarge…

Alfa GTV 1750

Mark this down as one that I’d like to take more photos of one day, when I’m less pressed for time and with better light.

This 1971 model’s fresh from an engine rebuild and is in remarkable original condition, in Olive Green Metallic.

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Studebaker Lark

Charm is the key and this Lark had it in spades. Big wide chromies, a sanded roof and plenty of patina made a lot of people smile when they saw this old Stude today.

Porsche 550 Spyder

This Spyder’s a regular at Classics but I haven’t photographed it for a while. New velocity stacks were the reason for the engine cover being open so I figured it was time to shoot some photos again.

It always looks great.

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Ford F100

I’m not one given to loving old utes. For me, they’re more about being useful than being show vehicles. But it’s impossible to deny this F100 being worthy of some photos. It looked fantastic. Original LHD.

Porsche 911 Flachbau

I don’t know if the slantnose 911 is a divisive design, but given the iconic status afforded the traditional 911, it probably should be.

I like it. I like it a lot, in fact.

The wing’s off one of Porsche’s later GT models.

Ford Cortina GT

There was a nice trio of Cortinas attending today. Whilst both white cars were beautiful, this GT was the one that attracted my camera. They were accompanied by a red Cortina, which I didn’t take a close look at. I should have.

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The Rest

I always feel awkward posting these as “The Rest” but I simply don’t have time to photograph or write about every car in detail.

Note the racing Fiat, which made a late appearance and is owned by a mate of mine here in Hobart. He’s completed many a Targa Tasmania, including several in this car. He was also in my Viggen with me when I wrote it off :-(

The Three Best Cars I’ve Ever Owned

This is the final chapter of a self-indulgent trilogy I started a few weeks ago. First, I recorded every car I’ve ever owned.

Then I listed the three worst cars I’ve ever owned.

Now, it’s time to name the three best cars I’ve ever owned (which is much easier than nominating the three worst, believe me).

So…. in no particular order:

Porsche 968 ClubSport

My time with the 968 was frustrated by driveway hassles. The car was simply too low to get in and out of our driveway without a set of heavy wooden ramps that I built to aid the process. It was a pain to get out of our driveway, which resulted in the following:

1) It tainted the day-to-day driving experience

2) It stopped me from driving the car as often as I would have liked.

Porsche 968 Driveway

Even though I had less seat time than I would have liked, I’m happy to draw the clear conclusion that the Porsche 968 CS is, without doubt, the most technically proficient car I’ve ever owned. It is genuinely fast, not so much in terms of straight line speed (though it’s no slouch in that department) but more in its ability to carry speed along a road or track. It handles like a dream – and that’s with standard suspension. I can only wish I had more time with the M030 suspension I fitted just before selling the car.

Porsche 968 ClubSport

I have limited experience with Porsches, but what’s apparent to me is this: Lots of car companies can do something really well. Porsche differentiate themselves by their commitment to doing many things really well. They build focused, technically advanced and quite complete cars.

The only downside with the 968 (and the 928 I own now) is that it lacks a bit of personality. It’s so good that it’s almost too good. It’s limits are way beyond mine, which might be the key to really enjoying a car. You have to be matched to it.

Alfa Romeo 33 16V

What the 968 didn’t have, the Alfa Romeo 33 16V has in spades – personality.

It’s as ugly as a bashed crab and has the build quality of a mid-70’s Chinese apartment building – but my goodness this is a fun car to drive.

My first Alfa 33 16V

The 16V saw Alfa’s boxer engine at the peak of its powers. It only made 130-odd horsepower but it’s a torquey little thing and it loves to rev. Fit it with the right exhaust (2.25 inches is just right) and it makes a noise so beautiful that even the most hardened, latte-sipping butterfly enthusiast will be moved to weeping as you pass them by.

Typically, there are things the Alfa does well and things it doesn’t. It does revs and noise. It doesn’t do handling quite as nicely. Surprisingly, my first 33 did reliability pretty well, but it wasn’t great on comfort or build quality.

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It’s this constant battle that gives it such a rich personality. You have to accept some give-and-take with the Alfa, but the things that it gives are given most generously.

Not only is the Alfa superb fun, it’s superb cheap fun. Mine cost me just $3,500 and I can’t recall if I had to spend a cent outside of regular service. I realise they’re not all like that (my second 33 was a basket case) but if you can get a 33 like my first one, it’ll give you the best smiles-per-dollar return you’ll ever see.

Saab 9-3 Viggen

I’ve owned a lot of Saabs over the years and it’s only right that I include one in this list. It’s not an act of charity, however – the Viggen makes this list 100% on merit.

I’m not sure what sort of fairy dust the engineers in Trollhattan sprinkled over the Viggen but it’s a magic machine. I had another Saab 9-3 from the same year that I tricked up to be more potent than the Viggen – on paper – but it never quite felt the same. It never delivered the same thrills and it never had the same presence.

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We all know that the 9-3 of 1998-2002 sits on a flawed, GM-sourced chassis. We all know that Saab could have done more to improve it prior to releasing the Viggen to market. Still, the mystical character of that B235R engine combined with the Viggen’s inclination to want to kill you makes an addictive mix.

The Lightning Blue paint sets the car off beautifully and the blue/black leather interior was a masterstroke. I still think it’s Saab’s best ever design/execution effort, period.

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I think the 9-3 Viggen is the best car Saab ever made. It’s definitely the craziest, which could well be why I like it so much. It’s not the easiest to drive nor the most practical, but for me, it’s the best combination of beauty, engineering and character that Saab ever screwed together.

The Viggen I bought in 2005 was my first ‘serious’ car purchase. It’s a choice that I’m eternally grateful for.

Exclusive: Saab Assets Purchased by Apple Computer

Finally!

After months of negotiations and more suspense than a Steig Larsson sequel, the story can finally be broken – Apple will seek to break into the car market using bargain basement technology on offer under duress in Trollhattan, Sweden.

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Apple is going to buy what used to be Saab Automobile from National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) in a deal that is set to shock both the electronics and vehicle industries.

Speaking exclusively, Apple CEO, Tim Kook said the following today:

There’s been a lot of speculation about Apple moving into this area and we can finally confirm that it’s all true. We see the automobile as the next step for human connectedness. For example, we think the work Volvo and other companies have done on connected safety systems is extremely interesting. But we also think there’s room for more innovation. We intend to accelerate that process. And then apply automatic braking, of course.

Addressing rumours that it was an Asian buyer that was negotiating to take a controlling stake in NEVS’s operations:

It’s true that we’re not an Asian company BUT we do make most of our products there so the ruse was only half-baked. As many people know, I can’t break wind without it being front page news so we decided to take this circuitous route and surprise the market.

Surprise!

I’d like to thank Mahindra for negotiating on Apple’s behalf. As a thankyou, we’ve also bought Mahindra, which will henceforth be known as i-Mahindra. All their trucks will be painted white in the future and will feature no hard edges.

So what will Apple build with its newly purchased car company?

Whatever Google’s building, really. Just slightly better. We’ll make it function a little smoother and of course, it’ll look much nicer. It’ll be electric. It’ll be a car. It might just be an electric car, but with an Apple twist.

For example, we are working on technology that will allow us to use a touch-windscreen. If you don’t like the street you’re on, simply swipe and you’ll be on the street to the left or the right.

Saab owners have been babbling on about how Saab and Apple are so alike for years and years. “Think Different” and all that. We think it’s true, except for the fact that Saab is broke and Apple has more money than God (who, incidentally, is just one of the deities we’re in negotiations with at the moment. Watch this space).

Regardless, we thought it was about time we join our minimalist design principals with a Swedish company and Saab was an ideal choice because it was available and it was cheap. We would have picked Ikea but I really hate building the stuff. And if I see another Billy bookcase I think I’m going to puke!

Kook confirmed that the vehicle will be called an i-Saab.

We had some trouble negotiating with Saab AB, the defence company that controls the use of the Saab name. So we bought them, too. Problem solved!

The re-named iGripen fighters will all be painted white later this year and have all hard edges removed. The Russki’s won’t see a single one of them in winter.

And how has this news been received in other areas of Apple’s business?

Jony Ive’s been itching to design something more interesting than the same old rectangle he’s been trotting out for years and just wouldn’t shut up about it. This acquisition should keep him and his hipster mates happy for five minutes.

Maybe.

Happy April 1st to all of you :-)